Sunday, 28 February 2010

Fix yourself gurrrll!!

Ok .. Patrick Wolf programmed Rage recently and this was one of his picks ... Bless!!!

I'll have a fluff please!

Ok ... birthdays are a tricky proposition as you get older ... but the pangs of age are soothed by friendship and love. Happy Birthday Deeks!!! Another round of Fluffy Ducks and Shane Warnes thanks!!

As for you, K & M, stop pulling out these culinary marvels!!! You're putting me and M to shame.



dan cope wrote:

LOVE it.. xxxxxxxx
3 Mar

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Happy Vindaloo against Violence

Hope you all had a great Vindaloo against Violence day yesterday ... we were over at Salaam Namaste last night for their scrumptious lamb cutlets and super curries.

Twas a really good idea, methinks ... oh except our friend J thinks its a scam.
Anecdotal horses for courses!!
dan cope wrote:

Is that why everyone was wearing blue ribbons on tv and in parliment?
25 Feb

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Scissor - wherein Liars channel Nick Cave

Ok .. wow ... I think things maybe looking up musicwise for 2010 -

We have an Obelisk courtesy of the Hon. John Woods MP - our blowtorch cookup 2010

Ok ... our first cook up for 2010 was in honour of P's birthday present to M - our very own blowtorch.

And this was the menu -

Entree - seared scallops (ala Blowtorch) with blackbean and ginger topping
Main - Blowtorched Beef Rib served with dill and potato and rocket salad
Dessert - Creme Brulee (it was going to be Jerusalem Artichoke Creme Brulee but they are not in season)

Now yet again we choose to utilise the oven on a hot, humid 30+ degree day. And the day started later than usual as our dear little Sensei's class went overtime and we had trouble finding scallops. But it all worked out in the end.

Now I have to say that humidity and heat do not quite agree with me. I get tetchy and annoyed at every little misstep and blunder so to match the theme of the day, there were a couple (or more) of flare-ups between M and myself. And I kid you not, at one point I felt all motion leave my body and was about to pass out at the stove directly in front of the hot oven. A gin and tonic with the doors opeb fixed that quick smart.

As always, we trundled off to The Vegetable Connection for some inspiration. They had Samphire in stock!!! Something that I have been dying to use but is virtually impossible to get. They have found a supplier that grows his own so are hoping to continue provending this coastal succulent on a regular basis. We have a bunch sitting in our fridge at the moment ready to be used tonight. You can eat it raw or blanch it lightly and goes superbly with fish. We also scored our Orange Blossom water but decided to track off further down to Coles for the rest of our supplies.
When we got home it was time to blowtorch the beef:
After charring the outside and rendering the beef (which we salt and peppered before we headed out to the stores), we shoved it in the oven for an hour and a half at about 120deg (?). We checked the temperature at the end to make sure it had reached about 51 deg Celsius. This is when we had to stop and rest the beef.

We then started on the creme brulees. I've realised that creme brulee is so simple to make and packs such a wow factor that its the perfect dessert treat to serve at a dinner party. I did over do the sugar a little bit (my fault - we were halving quantities) but hey ho I have a sweet tooth anyways.
Once the custard had been made it was time to set the bainmarie up:

P started work on the dressing for the dill and potatoes. P's ingredient de jour is dill. And I think if he could have dill'd everything in sight, he would've. But dill does go extremely well with mayo and potatoes, which also had egg and cornichons.
Pretty soon it was time to plate the entree. We had a super efficient production line going. I had already prepared the plates with a slice of cucumber for each scallop. I was in charge of blanching the scallops one at a time (about 30 secs each). M was ready to scorch each side with the blowtorch and P transferred the finished product onto the plate.
Each scallop then received a daub of black bean sauce and minced ginger as a final garnish.

After entrees, M continued finessing his Mushroom and Onion sauce for the Beef rib and P finalised his salads. The beef had been resting for awhile so we had the heat turned on low under the roasting tray to warm the pieces a little. And let me tell you, these were the mother of all rib steaks. We decided to keep the bone on for our delectation:
M decided to serve his in slices. He couldn't quite come at an entire piece.
And here's our main a' table:
At this stage, full and incredibly hot, we decided on an evening constituition to the Exhibition gardens before partaking of the last course of the evening. This was a good idea. Not only was it lovely lying in the grass (prickly) staring up at the lights of the city, we had the honour of patting the stone obelisk erected by the Hon. John Woods MP - take that Sydney!!!

Back at chez P the creme brulees were ready to be brulee'd:
Now the crust on the final product wasn't quite up to scratch but it tasted yummy!! I felt arteries congealing with each mouthful.
And all good things must come to an end. Despite my rather prosaic write-up (I'm hoping you can scan the heat-driven apathy into these lines), this was an anjoyable evening and a most successful cook-up and bodes very well for 2010. We are thinking of going all American in the next round. So if you have any suggestions ... answers on a postcard ... and you can always comment on this blog. (unless you're some internet scam - in which case you will be deleted!)

PS - P, those shoes are OUTrageous!!
dan cope wrote:

i want to see photos of the shoes please.??
22 Feb
Temasek wrote:

Sorry mate!!! I don't have any!
23 Feb

Izikaya Den - this was one hell of a CBA friday night dinner!!

Ok ... if you consider yourself a self-repecting foodie then you need to get your gastronomic arse down to Izikaya Den toot suite!!!

I must warn you that the place is not the easiest to find. Its at 114 Russell Street. Head for the corner of Lt Collins and Russell. The easiesit landmark is the good ole James Squire / Portland Hotel pubs. Izikaya s directly opposite. You need to go down the stairs like your heading to Chiodo but veer left and you're met with a glass door. Push through and you're in Izikaya's long foyer. There is signage but its a kind of cyber metal tooling and the embossed and grooved pattern is of the same brushed metal background so its not easy to read. This of course either irritates the shit out of you or heightens the experience.

Go down the stairs and turn left

They don't take small bookings so its best to get their early or prepare to wait. If you do have a large table be warned that they have 2 seatings - 6-8 and 8 through to closing. So best to book for the second seating. We were so relieved to have scored a table for 5 (thank you Simon Denton). Even if I was stuck in the aisle which is fine. There is enough room even though it doesn't look it. Oh and if you're a little claustrophobic, then maybe this is not the plcae for you. Its kind of a modernistic bunker with no windows. Be warned. But the food and drinks list is well worth the pain and effort. Believe me!!!

it kinda of felt like I was in LA (hi D!!)

Melbourne Gastronome has a well researched expose on the Izikaya phenomenon in Melbourne. Izikayas are basically snack bars ... i.e. drinking spots that serve food. They are generally on the lower end of the foodie price scale, but Izikaya Den's prices are not exactly for the frugal diner ... so go in a big group so that it works out cheaper.

Just as an indication, we were a table of five, we had 2 bottles of mid-priced wine, 3 long necks of Japanese beer, 8 sampling plates and 2 lots of Green Tea fondue - which ended up costing about $63 per head.

Unfortunately my photos suck, so I may have to pilfer from J who was taking great pics with a fancy camera. And I can't remember exact menu descriptions so I'm going to have to wing this. Also I may have missed out on pics in the excitement of it all.
Our first dish was tuna sashimi partly seared on some kind of radish combo sauce. This was the first of many culinary orgasmic moments to follow.
This was followed by kingfish sashimi. The coriander garnish actually worked on this. Kingfish has a beautiful silky texture and this tasted so fresh. And the hint of coriander at the end was just perfect.
We then had a plate of grilled fish served with this amazing plum (preserved I think) sauce. I can't remember what the fish was but it was smoky and moist, and the plum sauce was to die for.
As you can see from the photo below this is the dregs of a dish of which the main component escapes my memory. What was so amazing was the little pile of blackened seaweed which you can see D ho-ing into in the pic. It was like eating truffle in the sense that the flavours changed and got stronger with each successive mouthful. This is what gets gourmands off!!
The next dish (bar the one we didn't take a photo of) was a bit of an adventure. I was extremely impressed that our partners-in-culinary-crime were so willing to take a risk on something me and M would ordinarily not blink an eye at. M had read about this dish in Gourmet Traveller and it was thanks to her heads up that we ordered the Char-grilled Kingfish Head:
We attacked this with almost obscene gusto although M seemed to think I wasn't getting enough and kept plying me with cheek meat. We did baulk at consuming the eye and Simon only gave us a 7 out of 10 for our efforts. Still this was seafood at its best. Lightly grilled succulent white meat. Whip the gag reflex into submission and give this one a go!!

After an extremely brief period of respite, we ordered our 2nd bottle of Maddens Rise Viognier 2006 from the Yarra Valley (hunt this down immediately!!) and a few more sampling plates.

We had salmon roll (we ordered a second lot almost straightaway - D and salmon - like a tiger with fresh kill!!

Pork belly cooked to perfection - although if you're not a fan of pork flavour give this one a miss.

And Wagyu Breseola (air-cured) with Daikon fettucine - I could have eaten a whole bowl of Daikon fettucine, The sauce was divine and included Walnuts (the staff here are really knowledgeable about the food they serve) - so nut allergists beware. I think this was my favourite dish of the night followed closely by the lightly seared tuna.

Now WF has been to Izikaya Den and she insisited that I orderd the Green Tea and chocolate fondue. I kept dropping this as a catchphrase throughout the night so when D, J and I went up for a "breath of fresh air", M and M mindly ordered two lots.

And, like WF, I will also insist that if you go, you need to order this to round off your meal. The chocolate and green tea concoction is sex in a bowl! AND they serve you with not only the fondue forks but a teaspoon each to drink up the sauce with - now that is what I call service!!

And as I come to the end of this post, I am a little saddened that these nights do not occur more often as our dear old friends live in another state. I am insanely jealous of D's friday night suppers and would love to be at a meal where M's husband is in charge of ordering. And although we are still new friends to J, I'm absolutely certain he would have me in stitches over a good bottle of wine and some wonderfully rancid cheese ... well you can't have everything in life ... but you could pretend of an evening at Izikaya Den.

A Night Cap at Hairy Canary's:



dan cope wrote:

I know.. we want to come back..
23 Feb.

Temasek wrote:

23 Feb

dan cope wrote:

we shall post on fb xxxxxxx
22 Feb

Friday, 19 February 2010

IRL - the Pains of Being Pure at Heart - live at The East

Ok ... maybe because I was rockin the drop crotch in my head ... or the non-exisent asymmetrical haircut ... but I felt just like a teenager all over again ... full of unbridled excitement and hope ... or maybe its because WF was with me and she's a girl who drinks beer, cleans her plate (yeah WF I noticed!!) but still looks like she stepped off the catwalks of Milan ... or maybe its simply because the Pains of Being Pure at Heart are brilliant live ...

The PPBHs hail from NYC ... but wear their anglophile hearts proudly on their rock chic indie sleeves. Kip, the singer, wore a Belle and Sebastian T-shirt and Kurt the drummer (hawt!!) had the Young Marble Giants emblazoned across his delicious chest (yes WF drummers must have to be fit!) ... and really the band's sound is a blend of the 2 ... if nothing else they were rather apt musical signposts pointing to a love of 80s indie bands ... fey and jangly. And WF is quite right .... every cool band has at least one daggy nerd in tow ... in this case Alex on base with his buttoned up polo ... Peggy on keyboards was an absolute charmer ... so cute in that sort of arty asian chick way and a dead ringer of fashionista Suzie Bubble ... all fringe and straight hair, sharing WF's wardrobe ... and fashion tip ... ripped jeans!! Get a rock peops!!

BUT IRL (in real life) .... I'm the sad geriatric trying to look 20yrs younger listening to bands that no longer hold cultural relevance to the pace of my daily life ... but at least for an hour and a bit ... I was someone in myself that I could actually like ... and this dear readers is fundamentally why I am a music fan.

oh and that sister fucking song still creeps me out!!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

This is what I call a Comeback album!!! - Sade's Soldier of Love

Ok ... Wow!!! This is what I call a Comeback album indeed!!!

I don't know anyone who dislikes Sade's "Smooth Operator" ... and we all do the whole "no need to ask" with that slight orgasmic aspiration at the end. (ok maybe its just my friends)

I really didn't have high hopes for Sade's 6th album after a 10 year hiatus. But Soldier of Love could very well make my Top 2010 list.
Let me first say that Sade looks fantastic!! I remember those hoop earings, backless turtlenecks and english rose lipstick ... we all wanted to be as cool and sophisticated as her. And really, no one sounds like Sade.
This is not going to break any new musical ground. The first track to drop from the new album, Soldier of Love, may have hinted at a sight new direction, with its clattering percussion and synth-driven background, but the rest of the tracks are quinteseential jazz-lite Sade.
But this is welcome relief from all of that noisy auto-tune madness that constitutes contemporary r&b these days. Yeah you know how to use a computer ... we get it ... but all hail the saxophone solo!!! This is panadeine forte in all its mp3 glory.

PS - And here's another reason why I LOVE my ADSL2 - my iPhone update used to take more than 2 hours to download - it now only takes 5 mins!!

Xin Nian Kuai Ler

Ok ... Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone ... Nian Nian You Yu ... and all the rest of it.

What a strange Chinese New year it was ... spent with friends, traditions, superstitions, vodka and tonics, cigarettes, drama!, real converstaion and above all else, a slap bang meal to boot for your troubles.

I learnt and re-learnt 2 things:

(i) you can't do any washing (or any other menial tasks) for 6 days starting on the 1st day of the Lunar New Year
(ii) your Chinese New Year meal must consist of Fish - which you must not finish! (M had a coronary) and noodles - for a long life of fortune

This was not like other celebratroy dinners. We started off being terribly organised, but real life intervened at a couple of spots which meant that alcohol was consummed at a rapid rate, which in turn meant that the wok was thrown out of the window along with the peanut oil (just run with it ... it works in my head anyways).

So what did we end up consuming?
(i) Nian Nian You Yu - Pan Fried Snapper with a sweet and spicy sauce - incorporating the carrots and snow peas that were meant to go with the stuffed bitter gourd and scallops
(ii) Boiled chicken with ginger and chinese red cooking wine

(iii) Braised Pork - my pick for the evening - rich and oh so succulent
I am going to rename this Chinese New Year dinner as a microcosmical (?) representation of our tri-cornered friendship - a testament not only to its longevity but to its authenticity as well .... I hope you're all extremely jealous ... as you should be.



dan cope wrote:

lOVE it... xxx
I was patting a tiger 2 weeks ago. AND i am year of the tiger. So very happy jan. xxx
15 Feb

Thursday, 11 February 2010

"Tell the one who's lying with you ... to get right up ... and go back home"

Ok ... I was a big Eurythmics fan ... Huge!! ... They lost me a little with their american flirtations ... but they returned to their very British roots with the release of Savage - complete with long a vowel sounds ... this is kitchen sink drama writ large ... and for a bunch of queens just starting out on life this was the soundtrack to our "coming out" ...

We identified with the frustrated housewife shackled to the norms of suburban social mores; afraid of the reflection in the mirror and the harsh truths held within; yearning for some kind of animalistic release; wanting it so badly that we were willing to debase ourselves physically and mentally ... and none of us were even virgins ... though we didn't know it at the time.

I remember rolling on the floor of the bunk lip-synching to "I need a man" ... it was some kind of twisted revenge therapy for me ...

"I don't care if you won't talk to me
You know I'm not that kind of girl
I don't care if you won't walk with me
You don't give me such a thrill ...
Cause there's just one thing that I'm looking for
And he don't wear a dress!"
I need a Man

I remember pilfering the phrase "but you have used that weapon against me" and having that oil-slicked pugnacious goon spit chips in my face "You think you're so bloody clever!"

"You think you know just what you want
But you have used that weapon against me
Did I tell you I was lying by the way
When I said I wanted a new mink coat
I was just thinking about
something sleek
To wrap around my tender throat"
Beethoven (I Love to Listen To)

We were creatures, slightly damaged and painfully naive at times, but we understood the fine line between happiness and despair; pain and pleasure.

"I need you to really feel
The twist of my back breaking
I need someon to listen
To the ecstacy I'm faking"
I Need You

And years later, when I finally got a chance to see this band live, I was wracked with heaving sobs when Annie sang that final stanza from "You have placed a chill in my Heart":

"Love is a Temple
Love is a Shrine
Love is Pure
And Love is blind
Love is a religious sign
I'm going to leave this love behind,

Love is hot and Love is cold
I've been bought and I've been sold
Love is rock and Love is roll
I just want someone to hold"
You have placed a chill in my heart
I can say with some certainty that this is my favourite Eurythmics album. It encompasses all that is great about this band; a combination of studied electronic music and stadium rock bombast! Annie's voice is in fine form and that Dave Stewart guitar sound is luscious. Its an album bouyed by a level of artifice that is laced throughout with some very raw and painful honesty - if you need some kind of distraction at the moment, check these little vignettes on life, I guarantee you'll not only be humming the tunes, but you'll be drifting off into moments of subliminal contemplation.

"Words of Power are killing me

While the sun diplays it's teeth
All Mockery is laughing
All violence is cheap
She said
these are my guns
These are my furs
This is my living room
You can play with me there sometimes
if you catch me in the mood
You Savage

She said
I have this unhappiness
To wear around my neck
Its a pretty piece of jewellery
To show what I protect
She said
everything is fiction
All cynic to the bone
So don't ask me to stay with you
Don't ask to see me home
You Savage"
Temasek wrote:

Wow. Yes. Most Eurythmics afficianados adore the soundtrack to 1984, me included. Whats even more frustrating is that its unlikely that a remaster will ever see the light of day. I actually see the soundtrack as a study in rhythm and as a pre-cursor to the modern dance album as we know it now. But as I said, I am a fan.
12 Feb
Phoenix wrote:

I always thought Annie Lennox was cool. Recently I discovered the soundtrack album they did for Nineteen Eighty-Four but which was hardly used because, apparently, Richard Burton and John Hurt requested that the film's soundtrack feature more classical music. It's a really dark experimental "industrial" album. I wouldn't say that it was before its time exactly, but I don't think that casual Eurythmics fans would have liked it much back in the early 80s.
12 Feb
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